Current Issue

STEM Education News

February 23, 2015

In This Issue:

Watch Triangle Coalition’s Legislative Update Webinar

On Friday, Triangle Coalition hosted a Legislative Update webinar for members discussing the recent actions and anticipated activities of the 114th Congress. Presenter Della Cronin of Washington Partners, LLC started the webinar with an overview of the key players in the 114th Congress, especially those of particular interest to the STEM education community. She then provided an update on the President’s FY 2016 Budget Request and on recent actions towards reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Cronin also shared insight on anticipated legislative activities as well as opportunities for STEM education advocates in the coming year. Watch the recorded webinar here, and download the presentation slides here.

Legislative Update
House Education and the Workforce Committee Holds Markup of HR 5

The House Education and the Workforce Committee hosted a very well-attended, ten-hour markup on Wednesday, February 11 to debate and amend legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  The bill was last reauthorized in 2002, and Congress has been trying to reauthorize current statute since 2007.  The debated bill is a revised version of the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which was passed by the House in June 2013.  Full article

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Tech and Student Data Privacy

The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education recently held a hearing, “How Emerging Technology Affects Student Privacy,” the Subcommittee’s first hearing in the 114th Congress.  Members generally agreed on the importance of leveraging technology in the classroom while maintaining student data privacy.  Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) argued that it is imperative to hold “bad actors” accountable, but affirmed the innovative uses of technology in the classroom that are evident by the success of individualized, blended and distance learning.  Chairman Rokita asked the witnesses to conclude the hearing with succinct takeaways for Members to consider. Full article

ED Announces New High School Graduation Rates

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released data that showed an increase in public high school four-year graduation rates from 80 percent in 2011-12 to 81 percent in 2012-13.  Based on the new adjusted cohort graduation rate metric—that states, districts and schools have been using since 2010—Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin are among the states with the highest public high school four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate.  Graduation rates [in the US] have increased for three consecutive years, which Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called “another record-setting milestone” for America’s students.  John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, commented on the increase in high school graduates noting that nearly two million additional young people have high school diplomas over the past decade.  For more information on high school graduation rates, go to:

2015 Earth Educator Rendezvous Accepting Abstracts and Registrations

This summer, the first annual Earth Educators’ Rendezvous, supported by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), will bring together researchers and practitioners working in all aspects of undergraduate Earth education. The event welcomes faculty from all disciplines who are interested in improving their teaching about the Earth, administrators from geoscience departments and interdisciplinary programs that want to become stronger, and education researchers of all types. Registration is now open for the Rendezvous, which will take place July 13-17 at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

All participants are invited to submit abstracts to be considered for inclusion in the contributed program of short presentations and posters. Abstracts must be submitted by March 1. Contributions will be organized under two broad areas, with a limited number of concurrent sessions. The contributed program will be designed to complement the workshop sessions and even dynamically feed into the content of the workshops.

I. Teaching and Program Examples: exploration of the full range of what people are doing in their programs and classrooms. This includes innovative and effective activities, techniques and course design as well as practices focused on particular topics such as risk reduction, environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability.

II. Education Research and Disciplinary-Based Education Research: research on learning and cognition, and investigations of how teaching and learning takes place in an earth science context, taking into account the particular priorities, practices and worldview of our discipline.

Within these areas, sub-themes will be organized based on abstracts submitted. Attendees are encouraged to suggest sub-themes, and even organize related presentations as a set on the Abstract Submission Form.

For additional information and to register, visit

Worldwide Crowdsourcing Competition Seeks Ideas for TV Series with a Female Engineer Lead

(National Academy of Engineering,  2/19/15) – In celebration of National Engineers Week, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering (USC Viterbi), in collaboration with The MacGyver Foundation and Lee Zlotoff (creator of the TV series MacGyver), announced the launch of a worldwide crowdsourcing competition called “The Next MacGyver.” The contest was launched at a press event in Washington, D.C., hosted by “TODAY Show” digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong.

Sponsored by the United Engineering Foundation, the project is seeking ideas for a scripted television show featuring a female engineer character in a leading role. The goal of the competition is to create a historic TV series that inspires young people, especially women, to pursue careers in engineering. Full article